The Shivas “Manson Girls”
Dig the ominousness from this Portland quartet. It’s not only the band name or song title, it’s also the music—bad-trip surf-rock that reels like a drunken wipeout off a head-high wave. Taken from their brand-new K Records LP You Know What to Do, “Manson Girls” clocks in at less than 90 seconds and logs at least two blood-curdling psycho-howls. Like the Sonics were 19 again.
Modern Kin “Big Enough to Cook”
On this recent live take from Portland’s Banana Stand Studio, Drew Grow’s voice sizzles like a live wire, sounding like a paranoid, possessed Pentecostal minus the snake-handling and backed by a bludgeoning garage-blues rhythm section. “When I’m alone/My mind is a vice,” he declares, and damn it hurts so good.
Motopony “Get Down (Come Up)”
We nominate Motopony for Band Most Likely to Succeed and frontman Daniel Blue as Rock Star Prom King. The crescendo they deliver at 3:20 in this highlight from their upcoming Idle Beauty EP is the most ecstatic musical moment we’ve heard in ages. Motopony tours India (!) this fall and releases their sophomore LP early next year.
Water Monster “New Year”
“You’re a sucker for this electronic-tinged green-eyed soul-pop,” a friend noted when I linked him to Water Monster’s Bandcamp page. Guilty as charged! This enigmatic two-piece from Spokane hits the sweet spot, stacking confident vocals atop slick, shifty digital production and the occasional instrumental flourish.
Tomo Nakayama “Cold Clear Moon”
With his Grand Hallway project, Tomo Nakayama regularly delivered listeners into autumnal environs, hanging colorful chamber-pop instrumentation on skeletal song structures. Fog on the Lens, his upcoming first album under his own name, follows in a similarly delicate, sumptuous mode. Hard to pick a single among its gems, but “Cold Clear Moon” is especially seasonally apropos.
Above: The Shivas, photo by Sarah Case